Beat-the-heat Fruit Beverages

SUNDAY GOURMET

August 22, 1993|By GAIL FORMAN

People in hot climes beat the heat by sipping the nectars of tropical fruits such as soursop, guava, tamarind, passion fruit and mango. These exotic and luscious drinks can also make Maryland's sticky summers more bearable. Here is a collection of recipes: Yvonne Ortiz, a New York-based consultant on Puerto Rican food, gave me the recipe for Luquillo Beach Splash, a pineapple juice, mango and ice cream drink popular at Puerto Rico's palm-lined Luquillo Beach. A second drink shared by Ms. Ortiz, Villa Puerto Rico, is simplicity itself, but long on taste thanks to the intensity of passion fruit and the sweetness of bananas.

Another outstanding cooler is soursop (or guanabana) campola with evaporated milk. In "Sky Juice and Flying Fish" (Fireside, 1991), writer Jessica Harris suggests making the punch the way people do in Cuba and Puerto Rico -- with vanilla ice cream in place of milk.

For a spicy and rejuvenating beverage, how about a pineapple-ginger drink concotion? For years I have enjoyed this drink at Fish Wings and Tings restaurant in Washington. Chef Sharon Banks kindly shared her recipe with me for this beverage, a Sunday dinner specialty in Jamaica.

Similarly invigorating is tart Sorrel Refresher, made with the fleshy, red flowers of the rosella shrub. Also called Jamaica flowers, they are the flavoring in red zinger tea.

At the Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, Chef Mark Miller serves a version of the liquados sold by street vendors in Mexico and Puerto Rico. He cautions against overblending citrus liquados because the pith will taste too bitter.

For a mouth-puckering experience, try the tamarind-flavored drinks of Trinidad; the recipe below is for a tamarind-tangerine juice cooler. The tall tamarind tree, native to Africa and India, has large brown pods whose seeds are covered with the tart brown pulp that is the sour flavoring in many Indian curries.

All of these hot-weather beverages are easy to prepare. Ingredients can be found in some supermarkets and at area Caribbean, Asian or Latino groceries.

LUQUILLO BEACH SPLASH

12 ounces pineapple juice

1 pint mango ice cream

fresh chopped mint to taste

Combine juice and ice cream in a blender and process 10 seconds. Pour into glasses with chopped mint to taste. Serves four.

VILLA PUERTO RICO

2 cups passion fruit juice

2 cups banana nectar

2 cups raspberry ginger ale

K? Mix together all ingredients and pour over ice. Serves six.

SORREL REFRESHER

1/2 cup dried sorrel flowers

1 whole clove

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

3 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup sugar, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

club soda

lemon or lime or pineapple slices for garnish

Place sorrel, clove, cinnamon, bay leaf and water in a stainless-steel or glass saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain and chill. Add this sorrel concentrate to club soda or water and ice to taste. Garnish with pineapple or citrus fruit slices. Serves six to eight.

SOURSOP CAMPOLA

1 cup evaporated milk

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

12 ounce can soursop nectar

1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pour over ice. (Variation: Substitute 2 cups vanilla ice cream for milk and omit the sugar, lemon juice and water.) Serves four.

PINEAPPLE-GINGER DRINK

1/4 pound fresh ginger

4 cups boiling water

8 ounces pineapple juice

4 ounces orange (or lemon) juice

sugar to taste

crushed ice

Pound ginger and add to boiling water. Return to the boil, remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Strain and discard ginger. To ginger water add pineapple juice, orange juice and sugar. Swirl in a blender with ice. Serves four.

LIME LIQUADO

2 large, ripe, thin-skinned limes (lemons or oranges), halved

2 handfuls ice

1 cup water

3 tablespoons superfine sugar

lime slice for garnish

Squeeze juice of limes into a blender and add the rinds, ice, water, sugar. Blend 10 seconds; strain into a glass. Garnish with lime slices. Serves one.

TAMARIND-TANGERINE JUICE COOLER

1/2 cup tamarind syrup

1/2 cup tangerine or orange juice made from frozen concentrate

superfine sugar to taste

club soda

lime slices for garnish

Combine tamarind syrup, juice and sugar. Add mixture to club soda or water and ice to taste. Garnish with lime slices. Serves four.

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